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What is an Imminent Hazard Complaint?

An imminent hazard complaint is one alleging that any condition or practice in a place of employment constitutes a hazard which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately or before the imminence of the hazard can be eliminated through regular Cal/OSHA enforcement procedures.

What are the requirements for a hazard to be imminent?

Three conditions must be met before a hazard becomes an imminent hazard:

  1. There must be a threat of death or serious physical harm. Serious physical harm means that a part of the body is damaged so severely that it cannot be used or cannot be used very well. For example, an amputation in which there is a loss of all or part of a body appendage, including the loss of bone.
  2. For a health hazard, there must be a reasonable expectation that toxic substances are present and exposure to them will shorten life or cause significant reduction in physical or mental efficiency. For instance, poisoning from the inhalation of a potentially lethal gas.
  3. The threat must be imminent or immediate. This means that you must believe that death or serious physical harm could occur within a short time, for example, before Cal/OSHA could investigate the problem.

To report an imminent hazard call the Cal/OSHA Enforcement Unit district office nearest the workplace where the imminent hazard exists.